Yamaha dealers (and dealers of all brands, for that matter) have way too much inventory on hand. This includes left over (non-currents) and current 2018 model year inventory. This is an un-healthy situation for everyone involved, from the dealers to the manufacturers.
Yamaha tells us the snowmobile industry is still producing too many sleds each year, as if the market is selling 150,000 to 175,000 units each year. But, the fact of the matter is only 90-100K units are moving. More and more dealers are getting backed up with carry over units, and offering good incentives is upsetting the core customers who order in the spring or buy a new sled every fall. The value of a 1- or 2-year old sled is taking a huge hit because carry overs are cheaper to buy. Not good.
So, for 2019 Yamaha is going to do something that takes great discipline. Instead of adding more and more aggressive incentives to clear units, which costs the OEM significantly, they are cutting production – significantly. This also costs the OEM but is better for the dealer network and customers as far as resale.
For 2019 Yamaha is not only cutting the total number of units being built, they will only be offering 12 models vs. their 34 models last year. 5 of the 12 models for 2019 are spring-order only, leaving us with only SEVEN stocking models for 2019. There will be no Japanese-made models (Vector, Venture, Viking, Phazer) except the VK 540 two-stroke work sled.
The models that Yamaha will be producing for 2019 address the core markets where the meat of the sales are. For the models that were dropped, they have a significant amount of left over inventory that they felt would supply demand for another season. So, it’s possible they add more models in 2020 based on supply and demand.
The model breakdown goes like this – of the 12 models being produced for 2019, there is only one SR Viper, one work sled (VK 540), two youth machines (SRX 120 & Sno Scoot) and eight variations of Sidewinders, five of them being Spring-only models and three of them being stocking models. That’s it. And, the number of new units being shipped to each dealer will also be down, way down.
Now before you Yamaha riders out there start freaking out, take a moment and digest this information. In the long haul this is the right thing to do. Call it a market correction of sorts. Supply greatly exceeds demand right now. A balance has to come back for the OEM and the dealers to remain healthy, long term. It isn’t healthy to sell new sleds, year after year, at a loss.
Yamaha wants to make sure we (industry and consumers) are aware that the reduction in production does not mean they are getting out of the snowmobile industry, but rather they are “resetting” in preparation for the long haul in what continues to be a shrinking industry. They are committed to having competitive snowmobiles for loyal Yamaha customers. They also seem committed to reducing or stopping the shrinking of the industry by getting youth involved and hooked.
Now that we have that issue addressed, let’s get to the good stuff – the new technology for 2019. Yamaha’s own research indicated many of the Sidewinder buyers wanted the fastest sled, period. They cared less about long travel and big bump capability, this thing is a fire-breathing four-stroke. Many of the Sidewinder buyers placed far greater emphasis on SPEED. Thus, for 2019 you will notice both of the Sidewinder RTX bump sleds are gone and we now have the all-new 2019 Sidewinder SRX, sporting a 137” track length designed for top speed.
SRX is one name in Yamaha’s history that means one thing – fast, very fast. Aiming to deliver undisputed performance from the frozen lake to the groomed trail, the 2019 SRX is a chiseled weapon ready for all challengers. This machine sits lower to the ground, making it a “Lake Racer” calibration focused on unmatched top speed and acceleration. It is what Yamaha describes as being fluid neutral & flat cornering with higher confidence on groomed trails.
The logic to offer such a variation of the Sidewinder is very sound. There are those who must be the fastest out on the lake, and must be faster than all his buddies. You all know someone like this, maybe it is you. This rider does not want to lose. He typically also owns a high-powered boat and a high performance American car, something along the lines of a large displacement V8, not a German car or an import of any kind.
The Sidewinder SRX is fitted with a 137” x 15” x 1.00” Camso Ripsaw 1 fully clipped Track. Unique to the SRX is the suspension package with lowered ride height. New dual rate front and center springs provide lower preload with same final force at end of stroke. New torsion springs in the rear also reduce the preload with the same final force at end of stroke. These changes give us equally balanced front and rear suspensions. Having the same end force provides unmatched handling and top speed, without sacrificing comfort or bottoming protection.
Another trick feature is the FOX IQS (Intelligent Quick Switch) Electronically adjustable suspension, used on the front ski shocks and rear arm shock. A handlebar switch allows the rider to vary the suspension calibration automatically. Think of it as a Fox QS3 shock that is adjusted electronically and you have the concept down.
Other features new for 2019 include a new Hayes Brake with a shorty brake lever, a new Race Height Windshield, a new rear axle set up and idler wheel design, and a new tunnel bag.
Next up is the 2019 Sidewinder L-TX LE, sporting new gearing and a 1.6” Cobra track in the popular 137” length. Gearing has been changed to 24/50 to provide arm stretching corner to corner acceleration. The L-TX LE now features a 137” x 15” x 1.60” Camso Cobra Track, providing unparalleled loose snow performance and on trail confidence.
We again find the new idler wheels and rear axle set-up (Tri-Hub is gone) and the Fox I-QS Electric Adjustable Suspension on the L-TX LE, along with the new handlebar controls, new Hayes Brake with composite shorty brake lever, new Tunnel Bag and new Race Windshield. Extras include a heated Visor Cord Outlet, Heated Seat and New Hi-Vis Painted Tunnel so your riding buddies won’t lose you in the snow.
In the 141” track length we now find the Sidewinder X-TX LE. This model sees some changes for 2019, sporting a new 40” front end with mountain spindles and new single-keel Crossover Skis, along with a new mountain seat for a taller riding position along with a center grab strap.
In a change of pace, gone are the Fox FLOAT shocks all around, replaced with QS-3 coil-over shocks at all four locations! This model also gets a new 141” x 1.75” Backcountry X Track. The 141” uncoupled rear skid, along with the new coil-over shocks, features a new idler wheel design (no more tri-hub) and a new rail design moving a 2nd set of idlers to the outside for clearance with QS-3 shock reservoir.
Consistent for the 2019 changes we again find the new handlebar controls, a new Hayes Brake with new shorty brake lever, a new blue painted tunnel and a revised CVT calibration to increase performance and decrease belt temperatures.
In the 153” track length we again find the Sidewinder B-TX LE. Changes for 2019 include new blue single-keel crossover skis and the new rear suspension rail design as the B-TX now includes a 2nd row of idler wheels to help with slider wear (since the ice scratchers have been removed for 2019). The B-TX LE also benefits from the new Hayes Brake with new composite shorty brake lever, new rear axle idler wheel design, a loud hi-vis painted tunnel and a new CVT calibration to increase performance and decrease belt temperatures.
For the mountain riders, Yamaha offers up their 2019 Sidewinder M-TX 162” LE. Fitted with the 162” x 3.00” Powerclaw track and 36” Front end with Mountain Spindles, the M-TX gets new Blue Deep Keep Mountain Skis along with the new handlebar controls, Hayes Brake with new shorty brake lever and new rear axle idler wheel design. Once again, the CVT calibration has been changed to increase performance and decrease belt temperatures.
Returning features include the Float QS-3 front shocks and Float QS-L rear shock with Climb Lock. Ice scratchers are standard issue, but we do find a new tunnel bag and a hi-vis painted narrow tunnel. Deep powder performance is enhanced by the drop case with the 9.7 degree lowered approach angle, 8 tooth drivers and Frogskinz intake pre-filter mesh to reduce snow ingestion.
Again, Yamaha is committed to growing the snowmobile market and after a wildly successful introduction of their SnoScoot last year, they have made minor upgrades to this popular model and now only offer it as an electric start model. Changes for 2019 include a new oil dipstick for friendlier maintenance, a longer starter pull-cord and a composite carb isolator for improved hot start performance.
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